The first US President George Washington in his 1796 farewell address, delivered upon his retirement after serving 2 terms equaling 8 years in office, warned his fellow Americans about the corrosive consequences of allowing foreign governments to interfere in US elections and politics with the following words: “Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence … the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”
When the current republican President Donald J Trump openly admits to what’s alleged within the Intel whistle-blower’s complaint about a 7/25/2019 phone call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, then he’s confessing to breaking at a minimum, the Federal Election Campaign Act, by asking a foreign government to interfere in US politics and a US upcoming 2020 election by imploring its leader to deliver opposition research (something of value) on the president’s most likely Democratic Party rival, VP Joe Biden.
This criminal act alone by President Trump where he solicited a favor from a foreign government to obtain dirt on a political opponent to help him win an election, is enough to impeach President Trump. The added proof of an alleged quid pro quo transaction between President Trump and President Zelenskiy is not a required element of the crime by which he’ll be impeached. It’s just the cherry on top of an ice cream treat.
The president’s crime is exactly what our forefathers did their best to prevent, that instance of a foreign government being allowed to exert its influence over US elections; and this is the main reason as to why they granted the US House, via the US Constitution, the power to initiate an impeachment proceeding (the non-legislative act of sanctioning and the removal of a leader from office).
President Trump knowingly chose to commit this crime during the 7/25/2019 call. He made that 7/25 call, one day after thetestified before the US Congress regarding his 3/22/2019 final report based on its 22 months Trump-Russia probe which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that President Trump had conspired directly with Russia to attack/ interfere in the 2016 US elections’ infrastructure, in order to effect the outcome in his favor. But, in Mr. Mueller’s FBI report, he did itemize several instances where President Trump obstructed justice by impeding the investigation in numerous ways which made it almost “mission impossible” to develop a solid case against the president. Finally, Mr. Mueller testified that he was most worried about the US government not being adequately prepared to prevent/ defend against a repeat of Russia’s 2016 cyber-warfare and disinformation campaign conducted within the USA by Russia or another foreign actor, in 2020.
So when President Trump recently requested that Ukraine re-investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who had served on the board of a Ukrainian company, from 2014-2019, he knew full well that he was doing wrong. This 7/25 phone call followed the president taking the step of freezing military aid to Ukraine to the tune of $391 million dollars just a few days prior to his conversation with President Zelenskiy, giving rise to assertion, that this was also a “quid pro quo” transaction. It’s alleged that President Trump had been holding up military aid funding and equipment that Ukraine desperately required for defensive purposes against Russia, in order to demand Ukraine’s cooperation to develop research data that President Trump could use against VP Joe Biden in a future election. These monies for Ukraine had been appropriated by the US Congress in May 2019 to assist Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression.
This infamous 7/25 Trump-Zelenskiy phone call is also why the Democratic Party Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the US House of Representatives, officially announced the initiation of an “Impeachment Inquiry in September 2019, after she had strongly opposed this step for months. Frankly, President Trump impeached himself.
Since then, President Trump has falsely and brazenly claimed that he has the “absolute right” to ask foreign countries to investigate his opponents over alleged corruption, even if that meant collecting dirt against a political opponent.
“President Trump recently tweeted, “As the president of the United States, I have an absolute right, perhaps even a duty, to investigate, or have investigated, CORRUPTION, and that would include asking, or suggesting, other countries to help us out!” (But this does not include asking for dirt on a political opponent.)
The president’s controversial comment comes after Democrats publicly accused him of illegally pressuring Ukraine to probe unsubstantiated allegations about Biden’s son, Hunter, based on proof in the possession of the US House’s Intel Committee.
Under the (FEC) Federal Election Campaign Act it is illegal in the US to accept foreign aid to interfere with elections in the US. In an apparent warning to the president, Ellen Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission, retweeted on 10/3/2019, a post she first published in June about receiving foreign help in elections.
She said, “Let me make something 100 % clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It’s illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.”
As per the 6/14/2019 NPR report, “Fear Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections Dates From Nation’s Founding” by Ron Elving:
“The founders of American democracy clearly foresaw one challenge that faces the inheritors of their handiwork – the threat of foreign interference in our elections.”
“The fear of foreign interference was a driving issue in the conversations of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Several features of the Constitution that the framers produced that summer had their origins in this fear, as former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter noted in a 2017 speech.”
“Potter, now president of the Campaign Legal Center, said, “The founders took steps to guard against such [interference] by including in our Constitution guardrails like the requirement that the president be a ‘natural born citizen.’ ”
“Another guardrail was the Emoluments Clause, prohibiting any government officer from accepting a title or a gift from any foreign government.”
“That part of the Constitution had come to seem antique, as the norms and presumptions of American politics long ago made it hard to imagine a sitting president actually being bribed by a foreign power.”
“But today, with Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments routinely spending lavishly for accommodations at Trump Organization properties in Washington and elsewhere, the word “emolument” has returned to the news.”
“The framers also feared that presidents or other executive officers might prove disloyal to the country and Constitution they were sworn to protect. Thus the impeachment clause, as originally written, singled out the crimes of treason and bribery as grounds for impeachment.”
“The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” was added late in the convention process at the urging of Virginia delegate George Mason, who thought naming just 2 crimes too restrictive. The more general “high crimes and misdemeanors” was, as historian David O. Stewart has noted, “already archaic in 1787 and has grown more opaque in the years since.”
“When the newly minted Constitution was awaiting ratification by the states, some of its advocates produced a series of written arguments for it that were published as The Federalist.”
“No. 68 in this series (usually attributed to the prolific Alexander Hamilton) said, “The desire [of] foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our counsels” was a source of corruption and “one of the most deadly adversaries of republican government.”
“In other words, determined effort would be necessary on the part of the U.S. government to forestall the intrusions from these self-interested outsiders.”
“Two major figures of the revolutionary era who weren’t present in Philadelphia were future presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Starting in 1785, these 2 stalwarts of the Revolution had been serving as their fledgling nation’s first ambassadors to Great Britain and France — the rival powers whose influence the framers feared.”
“In a letter written late in 1787, Adams wrote that he understood Jefferson being “apprehensive of foreign Interference, Intrigue and Influence.” Adams said he shared that very concern and thought it was a good reason not to have elections too often.
“As often as Elections happen,” Adams wrote, “the danger of foreign Influence recurs.”
“The United States of the late 1780s was by no means a world power.”
“It was a loosely organized and struggling infant nation of a few million, clinging to the Atlantic coastline of a continent yet to be explored. The former colonists had until recent times considered themselves British subjects, and many still longed to reestablish that connection.”
“Others felt more affinity toward the French, who had, after all, lent a hand in helping the American revolution succeed.”
“For their part, the British and French were all too eager to continue pursuing their rival interests in North America — which had been a source of riches and a theater of conflict for these and other imperial powers.”
“What the Americans feared was a renewal of those empires’ rivalry on the new battlefield of the American government. It took little imagination to foresee a presidency and a Congress beset by the representatives of European monarchs.”
“Some of that toxic atmosphere had found its way to these shores during the presidency of George Washington. Tensions arose over the French Revolution, which began the same year Washington was inaugurated and put enormous strain on the relationships among the Founding Fathers.”
“Jefferson, who had represented the U.S. in Paris, saw the upheaval in that city as part of a larger movement for freedom and rights. Adams, who had been the minister to London, adopted the view popular in Britain — horrified by the bloody excesses of some French revolutionists.”
“As the U.S. became a world power in its own right, apprehensions over foreign intrigue took different forms.””
“In the 20th century, public support for the U.S. entering World War I spiked after newspapers reported on the “Zimmermann telegram” in 1917. Dispatched by German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to his ambassador in Mexico, the document described a plot in which Germany would reward Mexico with land if it allied itself with Berlin against the U.S.”
“The message was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence and proved instrumental in inciting public opinion within the US against Germany and in support of joining the war.”
“Two decades later, fear of German agents spreading Nazi propaganda led Congress to pass the Foreign Agents Registration Act. About the same time, Congress also created the House Un-American Activities Committee to investigate agents with fascist or communist connections to the dictators of Europe and Russia.”
After World War II, HUAC would focus on spying by agents of Soviet Russia.
“HUAC was abolished in 1975, its reputation long since sullied by its own excesses and those of other Red Scare figures such Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis. But FARA is still on the books, requiring lobbyists hired by foreign governments to identify themselves and their work products by identifying their foreign sponsors.”